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Fermenting Temperatures?

I live in a condo on the second floor, and have little control over my thermostat. It’s typically between 70-75 F. I have a closet where I keep fermenting beer and my beer supplies, so there is no light. Anyway, I met another homebrewer tonight whom informed me that I was doing it all wrong because my fermenting temperature is too high. I live by the slogan “relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew”, but I was wondering if there are any problems with having the temperature that high other than the yeast working slowly, or not as much as they should? I ask because my OG’s and FG’s are typically right where the kit says they should be, so I always figured that the yeast was doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing.

The trouble is with fusel alcohols and off-flavors at the higher temperatures. If you are making good beer and you enjoy it, then don’t worry, just keep doing what you’re doing. But if you want to brew the best beer possible, consider cooling your fermenter with either a wet t-shirt with a fan blowing on it, or a swamp cooler (you can Google either of these methods). Either of these will reduce your fermentation temperature into the sweet spot in the 60s where these concerns are much reduced.

I agree with Dave. If you are happy with what you are producing, why worry.

By the way, you have it backwards with regards to the effect of temperature on the yeast. The yeast LOVE higher temperatures; they will work faster and more efficiently at higher temperatures. But they will also throw out a lot of by-product chemicals including fusel alcohols, phenolic compounds and esters that can give off-flavors and maybe contribute to hangovers. So while the yeast may like higher temperatures, they will create better beer at lower temperatures.

I’m like you. I just let it ferment at the temps in the basement. I brew the same IPA recipe a lot and the temps have been varied from 65 to 75 with not much difference than I can tell. I have switched to Belgian styles now and I plan on maybe using lager yeast in my ales in the winter. Of course the yeast changes the flavor but I don’t mind I like variety. It’s all good, relax have a home brew and brew on.

Thanks guys,

Thanks for the info Rebuilt Cellars. I’m slowly making my way through the joy of homebrewing. Is there any other literature you would recommend to learn more about the science of brewing?

I was a big fan of Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation by Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff.

“How to brew” by John Palmer is hands-down the best book to start with. I don’t agree with everything in it, but it gives a very good overview of the process and the science of brewing, as well as a simple step-by-step approach that new brewers will appreciate.

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